A few days before the mini-vacation I suddenly realized that not only would I get to see my sister, Polly, whom I hadn’t seen in over two years, her birthday was quickly coming and I wanted to make something for her.

Six years and the rug between our beds separated us. We shared a bedroom and closet, a love of books, horses and cows but six years is a wide gulf to span. I remember some fun times of chasing each other around, and under the kitchen table, playing tiddy-winks and Authors. I don’t remember having heart to heart conversations. I had to go to bed long before she turned in and often I’d sneak books into bed and read – I was a very early reader – while listening to her and my older brother playing outdoors in the long summer twilight hours wishing I was old enough to be allowed to stay up.  For the most part she did her best to ignore me. By the time I was eight I thought she was the perfect daughter who dutifully did her chores, diligently picked berries and beans in the summer, cheerfully woke up at five in the morning all year long to milk her cow before heading to school or to the fields.

She’d haul me up behind her saddle on the spirited horse she bought after saving all her money four long years and across the fields we’d dash, me clinging desperately to her waist asking her to  please slow Mitzi down. Until she threatened to not ever take me riding with her again if I complained one more time. What she never understood is how pain clawed at my side from the thrust of the horses hindquarters bunching and bounding beneath my seat jostling my mere 60-some pounds to and fro. I loved riding with her, and I hated it.

She still thrives on busyness and activity. She holds down three jobs and loves them all: on-call all the time as the chaplain for the police and fire departments, the only one for the large, spread out county where she lives; the ordained deaconess/preacher for a small Episcopal church some 30 miles from her home which has not been able to find a priest to come serve their small community church; counselor to women of domestic violence and other life-wrenching issues. Periodically, when she needs to go out of the area her husband will be the on-call chaplain but he too is very engaged with the church which he shepherds and as chaplain for the community hospital.

Fortunately, about Thanksgiving  before I came across a mention in Knitspot (Nov 26th post) for some knitted jewelry earring that had me racing over to Laurie Nelkin’s Etsy shop and placing an order on the spot. Not for the earrings but for the Butin Collar. Bless her, she was away over the Thanksgiving holiday and I can only imagine how full her inbox was with orders by Monday morning, amazingly she mailed my kit that very Monday and it was in my hands by Thursday.  I steeled myself against its sweet call and continued working on Feather’s sweater to have it finished to take to the coast.  Saturday, Dec 3rd, the sweater was blocking and I reached for the kit to make a gift for Polly.

It whipped up in just a few hours, start to finish. Here it is on the pattern after it was gently hand-washed and blocked. I am charmed with the design, beauty, the clasp, and the ease of the pattern.

On a roll, I spun some yarn and crocheted two pageminders, one for her Polly’s husband and one for Ed’s dad – both avid readers.

Polly was delighted with the necklace. Unfortunately I only took this one blurry photo of her before gifts were exchanged.

Today she shares a birthday with my good friend, Grace – who was Polly’s horse-comrade and friend when they were young.
Happy Birthday to two wonderful, excellent women who each live life to the fullest and love God with all their hearts.